What is Radon
Radon is a radioactive gas present in our homes and buildings. Radon is found naturally in the environment. It is produced by the decay of uranium found in soil, rock or water. Radon has no smell, visual characteristics or taste; therefore, its presence cannot be easily detected.
Radon escapes effectively into the air, where it rots and leads to the creation of more radioactive particles. As we inhale, the particles are stored on the cells covering the airway passages, where they will harm DNA and is a known cause of cancer.
Why Test for Radon
Radon is the #1 cause of lung Cancer after smoking. Radon causes between 3–14% of all lung malignancies and cancer. As a gas, Radon can move freely through the soil enabling it to escape to the atmosphere or seep into buildings.
When Radon escapes from the bedrock into the outdoor air, it is diluted to such low concentrations that it poses a negligible threat to health. However, if a building is built over bedrock or soil that contains uranium, Radon gas can be released into the building through cracks in foundation walls and floors, or gaps around pipes and cables; causing significant health risk!
Canadians are Living and working in homes and buildings with Radon Levels ABOVE the
Canadian Guidelines of 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3)
Did you know?
All homes have some level of Radon - The ONLY way to know How Much, is to TEST.
As BC Lung Association CEO Scott McDonald said recently, “The problem is too few British Columbians know what Radon is, where it comes from and how to fix a problem in your home if you have one.”
Many British Columbians—and Canadians— haven’t thought about Testing Radon levels in their homes. But it’s Never Too Late and It's Easy To Start a Test TODAY!
GIVE ASSURE A CALL TODAY!
Some FACTS regarding Radon and Testing
Indoor Radon levels can vary wildly from day to day and even hour to hour; as well, seasonally. Concentrations are generally higher in winter and at night, when windows and doors are closed. Health Canada recommends completing a Radon Test over a minimum of 90 days or three months, during fall or winter. The average concentration detected over a three-month (90 day) test can be used to determine if a home or building’s Radon concentration exceeds the Canadian guideline level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre. (A becquerel, or Bq, is a standard measure of radioactivity named after French physicist Henri Becquerel). The World Health Organization recommends 100 Bq/m3.
The only known health risk associated with exposure to high levels of radon in indoor air is an increased lifetime risk of developing lung cancer. The risk from radon exposure is long term and depends on the level of radon, how long a person is exposed and their smoking habits. If you are a smoker and are exposed to elevated levels of radon your risk of developing lung cancer increases significantly.
Is British Columbia a Concern?
While some areas, like Castlegar and Prince George, are prone to high concentrations of indoor radon, Health Canada emphasizes that NO areas of the country are Radon-free. A 2012 Health Canada study indicates that 6.9 percent of Canadians live in homes with Radon levels above the guideline of 200 Bq./m3, but, “The only way to know if a home has an elevated level of Radon is to TEST, regardless of your location.” SFU Citizens Scientist Project - Canada has an online map illustrating the Relative Radon Hazard across BC above the Health Canada guideline. Radon Potential has been broken down into 3-ZONES:
ZONE 1 – HIGH
ZONE 2 – ELEVATED
ZONE 3 – GUARDED
Even if your home tests below Health Canada’s guideline level, you might want to explore mitigation options. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a lower guideline of 148 Bq/m3 and the World Health Organization recommends 100 Bq/m3. There is no safe level of Radon exposure, and the risk of lung cancer increases by 16 percent for every 100 Bq/m3 increase in lifetime average Radon concentration.
Governments should also Test Radon levels in public buildings, like schools and hospitals, as recommended in the David Suzuki Foundation’s 2007 report,
Radon - The Unfamiliar Killer
Did YOU KNOW?
The Government of Canada is keenly aware of the important link between health and the environment, and thorough initiatives such as the Clean Air Agenda, is developing and implementing an effective Radon program. This program is designed to make tangible improvements in the health of Canadians by reducing the incidence of lung cancer. Health Canada encourages Canadians to test their houses and businesses for Radon and to take steps to reduce the radon levels if they are above the Canadian guideline of 200 Bq/m³.